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The Killer across the Table: Inside the Minds of Psychopaths and Predators with the Godfather of Criminal Profiling

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  683 ratings  ·  118 reviews
The legendary FBI criminal profiler, number-one New York Times bestselling author, and inspiration for the hit Netflix show Mindhunter delves deep into the lives and crimes of four of the most disturbing and complex predatory killers, offering never-before-revealed details about his profiling process, and divulging the strategies used to crack some of America’s most challe ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 2nd 2019 by HarperCollins - GB
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4.04  · 
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 ·  683 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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The real-life FBI profiler who inspired the TV program, Mindhunter, reveals his secrets within these pages. He details some of his most high-profile cases and his interviews with the criminals. He delves deep into their crimes and their minds.

I’m a fan of true crime and of all things psychological. This was a disturbing look into some truly diabolical minds. Their utter lack of humanity and empathy is the stuff of nightmares. Are psychopathic killers born or are they made? And if made, what exp
Every so often a book sends shivers down one’s spine, makes one check the locks of the doors and windows of the house, and hunker down to listen to a book that is both harrowing and frightening all in the knowledge that this was all true. Needless to say, the saying life is stranger than fiction is ever so true and in the harrowing story of serial killers, one finds that the strange is also the horrifying.

Imagine the most frightening book you have ever read? It made you scared, creeping you out
Ecstatic update: I just ordered a signed copy of this book! I’m going to own a signed copy of a John Douglas book! Need morning to come so it’s more socially acceptable to jump up and down with glee!

Have you ever considered who you’d invite to your fantasy Ultimate Dinner Party? John Douglas is one of my top five fantasy guests; although, introvert that I am, I’d much prefer a one on one conversation with him.

My main takeaway from my psychology degree was my obsession with criminal profiling.
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Douglas is undoubtedly a fascinating man. Right at the forefront of criminal profiling, he's sat across the interview table from some of the most infamous and prolific serial killers of our time. Yet this is a light offering, repetitive and covering ground well trodden. The cases are, of course, horrific, especially the first: the rape and murder of 7 year old Joan D'Alessandro. The problem is that he can't let those bigger fish go, instead their stories seep into this book at every possibl ...more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Killer Across The Table is the latest book by John Douglas, pioneer in behavioural sciences at the FBI, and the inspiration behind the character of Holden Ford on Netflix’s Mindhunter. In this latest book he examines four different murderers, ranging in victims and signature, as he delves into their mind and discusses the why, what and how of their crimes.

Douglas always has an interesting way at examining these kinds of crimin
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By all intents and purposes, John E. Douglas is an interesting character with a fascination for interesting characters. He was one of the FBI's first criminal profilers and a celebrated serial killer "whisperer" for the duration of his career. In this book, he delves into criminal psychopathy and attempts to answer questions such as: are killers born or made but also investigates the reasoning for their offences and how the offender themselves tries to justify their actions. Douglas’s great insi ...more
Bill  Kerwin

Together with longtime collaborator Mark Olshaker, John “The Original Mindhunter” Douglas is at it again, interviewing the iciest of killers to find out what makes their cold hearts tick. Since he is retired from his old home at the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, John—now an independent contractor—takes his four psycho-killer interviews wherever he can find them: one commissioned by the New Jersey State Parole Board, two for a prospective MSNBC pilot, and one for a six-part ID Network documentar
Legendary former FBI profiler John Douglas, through countless interviews, unveils the history, psychology and motive behind some of the most horrendous criminal offenders of the modern era. With the utmost control, Douglas methodically and meticulously peels back the layers of thought, impulse and desire while exposing the most corrupt and deplorable human depravity known to man. For those who have enjoyed the Netflix show Mindhunter (which was based on Douglas' work) or Thomas Harris' Hannibal ...more
Donna Hines
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, arc
What determines the propensity to kill?
Could it be the nature v nurture theory?
Could there be an insanity clause utilized?
Is there clear cut signals, warning signs, patterns (ie. M.O. - Modus Operandi) to illustrate more clearly the violent progression from childhood to adulthood?
Yes, there is and predators, serial killers, and toxic individuals with a need for power and control know all too well that it exists!
These individuals whether you speak of BTK Dennis Rader, Son of Sam David Berkowitz,
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this title from the Publisher. It does not impact my review.

I don’t often read Non-Fiction, but profiling has always fascinated me. Mindhunters has also been on my Watch List, so when I realized John Douglas is the inspiration for that show, I knew I had to read The Killer Across the Table.

John Douglas is a pioneer in profiling for the FBI. He and his colleague, Bob Ressler, started interviewing violent criminals to learn more about their motivations, which can ultimately he
Linda Lipko
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this vividly detailed book written by the famous FBI Profiler who was instrumental in developing studies slanted just for serial killers, at a time when the phrase wasn't fully in our vocabulary. Helping to hunt the Green River Killer, David Berkowitz "the son of sam," as well as providing an in depth study of Ted Bundy, the man who targeted the same look in a woman, and got away with his killing spree for too long.

Finding the similarities and then some of the differences within the personali
Susan Hampson
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a keen reader of crime books I felt that I was like a bee to a honeypot from the very first chapter. John Douglas worked for the FBI delving into some of the most high profile minds that there has ever been trying to find out what makes a serial killer tick. He looks at, if it is the way a child or adult is treated that sends them over the edge or if a killer is born that way.
The thing that stands out in the book is his ability to get these killers to talk with ease to him, he has his own
SJ Reads
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Writing style: 4
Authors intentions and success of showing it: 4
organisation: 2
enjoyment: 3
overall rating: 3.5

- The academic tone, there was no romanticism
- The fact that the four main cases were not known to me, aka not the biggest cases around

- The organisation was all over the place, muddled by John name dropping some of the big fish he had interviewed.
-at times it felt like a money grab. There was not much in there other than showing what these killers were l
Bobbi (Bobbi Reads Too Much)
Totally not was I was expecting. I expected the 4 broken up parts to be exclusively about the subject he was interviewing for each section. They were, but weren’t. It was super distracting in the middle of talking about a particular case to jump to 5 other previous cases he’s worked on and reference those. It made it confusing and rather convoluted. I think I’m going to try watching the show instead. ☹ Totally bummed about this one. ...more
Yet another Book of The Month win! Maybe my reading drought is finally ending, folks! That would be very exciting.

But back to this book.

First of all, if you’re into true crime and forensic psychology stuff, go watch Mindhunters on Netflix (if you haven’t already). It’s about the folks who developed what is now often referred to as criminal profiling, and how they went about identifying and working important behavioral science/psychology concepts into an historically rigid field. The series is ba
J.H. Moncrieff
John Douglas is one of my all-time favourite writers. His books are about the only ones where I will purchase each new release, sight unseen, before they hit the shelves. I can read each Douglas book over and over again, and always discover something new.

That said, there was something missing in this long-anticipated release. I can't put my finger on it, other than to say it's missing the same "heart" as the other books. It wasn't as gripping, perhaps because Douglas isn't relating stories about
Darcia Helle
While this book has some interesting content, I was disappointed by the overall presentation and tone.

The basis of the book is an overview of four killers Douglas interviewed. We learn about their lives, from childhood up through their crimes, and then we're told about the interviews Douglas later did with each of the men. Direct quotes are included, so we get a good sense of their thought processes. I found these parts informative and interesting.

Unfortunately, the content gets kind of messy as
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, nonfiction, arc
"The Killer Across the Table" is not the first and will likely not be the last written venture for John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. As one of the pioneers behind behavioral analysis in the FBI, Douglas has written about, interviewed, and studied some of the most fearsome criminals in America. While I've always been interested in true crime and behavioral analysis, I was most drawn to the book because of his portrayal (as the character Holden Ford) in Mindhunter on Netflix.

Douglas explains tha
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having recently started watching Manhunter on Netflix, my interest in the FBI officers who pioneered criminal profiling has grown. One of the most renowned FBI profilers, a man who is a legend within the Bureau (and indeed wrote the book the NetFlix show is based on and is a consultant for the show) is John Douglas. Douglas has written a number of titles about his experiences of criminal profiling, not least his most famous book, Manhunter (again, the basis for the show). The Killer Across the T ...more
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book for the faint of heart. It is surprising that I have not picked up books by this author(s) before, considering that I have watched multiple serialized versions of their findings on TV and NetFlix. It was a little hard to get through the first section because of the detailed descriptions of the crime but the other three were comparatively less brutal.

This book consists of four cases of killers with references to other similar ones within the section itself. John Douglas details
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, non-fiction
Terrific account of criminal behaviour pattern and the singularities that sometimes prevent accurate profiling.

John E. Douglas's years of experience in talking with serial killers provides a valuable insight into what moves one into murder and how, more often than not, it is a rational decision rather than a pang of insanity. It is quite refreshing to read about these men through Douglas's eyes and realising that no matter how much profiling we can aim to construct around this type of behaviour
Angus McKeogh
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s some reiterated material here from the book, Mindhunter; but overall there’s sufficient new and interesting stuff to make this a really good read. Speaks more to the why as opposed to the how and who. I’d surmise it’s a better book than his previous one that’s getting all the recent media attention.
Abby Morris
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to resist Douglas and Olshaker. I have to give a big shout out to True Crime Garage (an essential for this true crime junkie). They’ve raised my standards on how the story of a crime is told, and I especially enjoyed Nic’s interview with Douglas. Like the book, it was both true to the reality of these tragedies while also sensitive in giving us an ugly but honest glimpse into the human condition.
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some reviewers complained that Mr Douglas name dropped famous killers he had met and interviewed, others complained the crimes he covered were too evil and graphic. For me this was the book I expected to read. It didn't disappoint. John Edward Douglas sat across the table and said. " tell me more" and they did. He nodded and said " how did that make you feel", and they told him.
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas is a current nonfiction pick. Douglas is also author of Mindhunter, the book the Netflix series is based on. In this book, Douglas focuses on four killers, but includes stories from other interviews, including Bundy, Manson, Berkowitz and Wayne Williams. There was an extra creepy factor for the last killer mentioned. Todd Kohlhepp is serving his seven life sentences at the Broad River River Correctional Facilty, about a mile from my wife's office. I se ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the Mindhunter series, and this book (very satisfyingly) touches on some of the cases from that series. Plus, the audiobook is narrated by Jonathan Groff, who played the Douglas character in the show.
Shae McDaniel
It was fine. I think I'm getting tired of the male voice for these kinds of narratives. Should probably try some Ann Rule next.
Stacia Manion
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FASCINATING. I want to BE John Edward Douglas when I grown up.
Sophie Rayton
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant and important.
Unfortunately, killers walk among us and I salute the people who strive to understand them in an attempt to make the world a safer place. This book was very well done and I plan to read more from this author.
Courtney Lavallee
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
This book was so much more than I thought it would be.

I loved the way they analyzed people and explained how they came to their thought process.

It was very interesting and kept me hooked, I love reading about true crime. I also enjoy learning about serial killers in general, especially when it comes to the way their minds work.

I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for an in-depth view at some serial killers, or just murderers in general and how the FBI processes work.
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During his twenty-five year career with the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, a name he later changed to The Investigative Science Unit (Douglas & Olshaker, 1995). John Douglas became the leading expert on criminal personality profiling and the pioneer of modern criminal investigative analysis. Through his research with serial criminal’s, Douglas learned how criminals think and what makes them do ...more
“Within just about every serial predator, there are two warring elements: A feeling of grandiosity, specialness, and entitlement, together with deep-seated feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness and a sense that they have not gotten the breaks in life that they should” 1 likes
“This is often the way crimes get solved- through a side door. The clue that led to New York’s “son of Sam” killings was a parking ticket David Berkowitz was issued for parking his Ford Galaxie too close to a fire hydrant near the site of his final murder” 1 likes
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